I'm not a huge Halloween fan, but lots of other people are. So I'm once again updating last year's list. At least this year I'm doing this the day before Halloween. If you have more suggestions, leave 'em in the comments... First, 2 new albums appropriate for the season. A bit too late too order in time for this year, but definitely worth getting if you collect Halloween albums like some people collect Christmas albums... -- Eban Schletter's Witching Hour is a full hour of Halloween-themed music, some pretty hysterical ("Devil Doll," featuring Paul F Tompkins, or the droll "Some Things To Know About Monsters," featuring Jill Sobule), some melancholy ("Forever Lurking," featuring Grant Lee Phillips), and some even a little creepy ("Incantation"). (The 9-minute-long "Headless Hitchhiker of Highway 13," featuring comedian Dave Foley, is a story that didn't quite meet my outrageously high expectations for something featuring Foley.) It's not really a kids' record per se, but there's nothing on here that a 7- or 8-year-old with their head on straight wouldn't be too freaked out by. Listen to selected songs here. -- Wee Hairy Beasties' Creepy Lullabies, a double 7" single, features Halloween-ish, monstery songs that are appropriate for all but the most timid (and youngest) of kids. The monsters here are mostly humorous, with just as many problems (if not more so) than the "normal" among us. I mean, who can be churlish about the instant classic "Monster's Disco," which features lyrical nuggets such as "The boogiemen / Sang 'Boogie Nights'?" As noted here before, you can stream essentially the whole thing at the Beasties' Myspace page. (Buy it digitally here.)
Over the next few days I'm going to be announcing a number of kids music shows taking place here in Phoenix in 2009, but let's kick off the list with a show squeaking in 2008 -- Randy Kaplan, who'll be officially releasing his second album Loquat Rooftop (review) this fall. Randy will be making his way east from LA to play a record release show at Symphony Space in New York City in November, then eventually heading back west. On Saturday, Dec. 27th, Randy will be playing a show at central Phoenix's Church of the Beatitudes (555 W. Glendale Ave., the corner of 7th Ave and Glendale). It'll be a 2 PM show, with tickets just $3 a person. Come get the kids (and yourself) out of the house and enjoy a great show. This isn't a "Zooglobble" show -- it's being put on by the Church (its first kids show, but definitely not the last) -- but I've helped coordinate it, so consider it Zooglobble-approved.
I first stumbled across Todd Baio via his Ukulele Evangelist website and interview with Jack Norton. But I've really been digging the tons of videos he's been uploading to his YouTube channel. A whole bunch of traditional favorites, mostly done solo on the ukulele. There's nothing odd or special about the renditions -- they're just folk classics, done well. And the videos are about as simple as you can get, but that's not so bad when the music's good. Here's a medley of "Railroad Bill" and the Elizabeth Cotten classic "Freight Train" for your listening pleasure... Todd Baio - "Railroad Bill/Freight Train"
I've discussed before what big fans we are of Austin's Biscuit Brothers, whose TV show is, well, the best kids music show on television. And sure enough, as I'd hoped in that last comment, there is indeed a third volume of their DVD series Go Make Music! on the way, on sale, in fact, next month. Another collection of Emmy-winning episodes and "Crazy Classics." For those of us with households who are, despite the charm of the first two volumes' episodes, tiring ever so slightly after, say, the 83rd viewing, this is news for great rejoicing...
Only about 48 hours or so before the window shuts on the usefulness of Halloween-themed videos, but Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck have slid through, with a live video posted of "Spooky Dance." The antenna-ball-headed, angel-winged backup singers are, like, the least scary monsters ever, but they give their own spooky dance a good shot. Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck - "Spooky Dance"
When I was a kid, for a year or so I was a member of Billy Joel's fan club. For, like, $10, I got a copy of his newsletter, The Root Beer Rag, and a vague feeling of being slightly ripped off. So now, when a kids music band posts a live video on the Internet for free, I feel much better. We've mentioned Seattle's The Not-Its! before, but now they're starting to play live. They've just posted a live video from the inside of a West Seattle ice cream store. I dig the synchronized claps. The Not-Its! - "B.A.T.H." The Not-Its! play "B.A.T.H". live at Full Tilt Ice Cream